After it was revealed the the Justice Department seized phone and other records of the AP and their reporters, and then that they spied on Fox News reporter James Rosen and his parents, the Justice Department issued new guidelines on how to deal with the media when they report leaks. Glenn Reynolds has a few problems with these guidelines, including who does the DOJ consider to be journalists deserving of protection? (Not to mention the proclivity of this administration to waive rules and laws at whim.)
Government licensing of the press is one of the biggest First Amendment no-nos. But if the government is in the business of deciding who counts as a “legitimate news organization” — and, more importantly, who doesn’t — then the result looks suspiciously like a licensing scheme of some sort.
It also looks kind of clubby. Washington is already rife with crony capitalism, but if these protections are limited to Big Media journalists it starts to look a lot like crony journalism. The administration gives journalism’s old-boy-network a pass, in exchange for not rocking the boat too much, while leaving itself free to go after the very outsiders who are most likely to do hard-hitting investigations.
Not coincidentally, NBC talking head David Gregory — highly sympathetic to the Obama White House — recently asked blogger Glenn Greenwald, who broke the Edward Snowden/NSA story, if he was a “real journalist,” with the strong implication that he was not. He’s certainly broken more stories critical of the White House than Gregory has.
Read the whole thing, what it all boils down to is that Eric Holder wants to decide which journalists are deserving of protection from Eric Holder, and which are not. I guess that’s just par for the course with this lawless administration.